Tributes after paraglider’s tragic fall

Rob Kirkbride died in a tragic accident at Pendle Hill.
Rob Kirkbride died in a tragic accident at Pendle Hill.
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A Lytham paraglider has died after his canopy collapsed while gliding over a Lancashire beauty spot.

Rob Kirkbride was on Pendle Hill, in East Lancashire, with a friend when he fell 30ft from his glider on Wednesday.

Police, paramedics, the Air Ambulance and mountain rescue teams attended but despite their best efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The 48-year-old’s devastated partner says she can take comfort from the fact he was doing something he loved when he died.

Talking on Facebook Angela Feehan said: “Don’t know how I’m going to cope without you, darling. Love you always and forever.”

In a statement she added: “The only thing that we can take any comfort from is knowing that he died doing something he loved.”

Friends of the popular engineer also took to social networking sites to pay tribute to Mr Kirkbride.

Neil Smith, who worked alongside him at BAE Systems Warton, said: “Rob was a sound guy and was a great guy to have in the office when he worked for me at BAE.

“The news has been a great shock to those that knew him here at Warton.

“He will be greatly missed.”

John Richardson added: “No words can describe the loss of such a great bloke.

“I’m lucky I knew him and he will be missed but not forgotten.”

Pennine Soaring Club regularly organises paragliding trips across the North West.

Andy McLoughlin, chairman of the club, said: “We have heard about this accident and it’s very sad.

“We are a very active club and always try to make things as safe as possible and keep the hills safe but some things are out of our control.”

Emergency services were called shortly after noon on Wednesday to the scene of the accident.

A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said: “Initial reports suggest the man fell about 30ft to the ground after the canopy of his glider collapsed. An investigation is ongoing to try to establish the precise cause of the accident and a post mortem examination will be carried out to establish the cause of death.

“Any witnesses should call police on 101.”

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